Novice Program

Novice program is open to anyone with the desire and physical ability to experience sweep rowing beyond LTR, and for rowers with previous experience who are returning to the sport at a basic level. The primary focus of Novice is to continue rowers’ introduction to the sport in a friendly and supportive atmosphere, build fitness without injury, and acquire a set of basic skills enabling them to advance.

The novice program will be designed to make rowers competent in both sweep and sculling. Participants from Learn to Row clinics will be permitted to enter the program on every other Monday.


Tuesdays, Thursdays:  5:15- 6:45 am
and Saturdays:  5:45- 7:45 am


– Novice program concentrates on skill development through drills. This will include rowing technique, etiquette and vocabulary, equipment handling including carrying the boat safely, boat parts/terminology and correct foot stretcher/oar height placements. As soon as reasonable, training will end with 10 to 20 minutes of continuous rowing each day.

– Embedded within each Novice session is coxswain training. All rowers in the Novice program will be expected to cox occasionally when dedicated coxswains are not available; the “fair coxing” guideline rotates program members to ensure coxing duties are spread across all rowers. Rowers will learn and practice coxing skills essential to ensure safety of the boat and crew during carrying, launching, steering and docking. Reasonable coxswain skills (sufficient to safely cox practice sessions) are required to graduate from the Novice program.

– Novice is a great opportunity for a rower to build the skills they need for lifelong rowing in a team environment. General guideline is for Novices to stay in the Novice program for at least one (1) calendar year from the date of entry in order to establish a strong foundation before advancing. In rare circumstances, the coaching staff may advance a Novice rower early if the individual demonstrates strong fitness and accelerated mastery of rowing technique.

– Novices have the unique opportunity to race in Novice categories for one (1) year after their first race.


– Participants must pay applicable membership and fees prior to participation in programs or use of club equipment. Contact the club Treasurer if you want to set up an extended payment plan. The Treasurer or their designee will provide a member list to program coaches prior to session start dates to determine who is program-eligible.

– Scheduled sweep programs are divided into concurrent sessions so that members can move fluidly between all programs at the end of each session. The exception is Novice and LTR programs which are scheduled separately from Experienced and Racing. However, opportunities for Novice members to join Experienced part way through a session are available.

– All groups will have access to equipment, coaching, coxing and other resources based on the club’s equipment policy. (

– Extra rows and additional water workouts can be organized by any member with or without a coach, provided they ensure their resource requirements do not conflict with other programs. Self-organized rows must comply to the club’s Equipment and Safety Policies.

– Sculling programs have priority for sculling shells. On any given day if there are sculling shells available that have not been reserved by a member, a sweep program coach may choose to use them.

– If deemed necessary by a coach and/or the Equipment Manager, periodically (but generally not more than once every two (2) months) an equipment maintenance session will replace on-the-water practice. Sweep and sculling rowers may not have advance notice of this and will be expected to participate in needed maintenance activities.

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